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Buhari confirms partial closure of Nigeria-Benin border, gives reason



President Muhammadu Buhari with President Patrice Talon

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the partial closure of Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic at Seme in Lagos was to check smuggling activities.

The closure of the border, which has been on for eight days, followed the joint border security exercise ordered by the government and aimed at securing Nigeria’s land and maritime borders.

Speaking on Wednesday when he met Patrice Talon, his Beninois counterpart, on the sidelines of the seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD7), in Yokohama, Japan, Buhari said smuggling was threatening his administration’s agricultural policies.

This was contained in a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

The president said the activities of the smugglers threatened the self-sufficiency already attained due to his administration’s agricultural policies.

READ ALSO: Customs denies closure of Seme border

“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves.

“We cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” he said.

The Nigerian president said the limited closure of the country’s western border was to allow Nigeria’s security forces to develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications.

Earlier, President Talon had revealed that he called on the Nigerian president as a result of the severe impact the closure of the Nigerian border was having on his people.

“The matter will be further examined during the Nigerian leader’s official visit to Pretoria in October 2019,’’ Adesina stated.

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